M. Sutherland Fine Arts
FUNG MING CHIP
November 20, 2013 – January 11, 2014
Shufa, the practice of calligraphy, is a creative art of the written word bearing the weight of thousands of years of tradition. To challenge Shufa tradition is no easy task. Fung Ming Chip has done exactly that. The ultimate autodidact, Fung Ming Chip (aka Ming), uses a breath-taking range of idiosyncratic styles to push the boundaries of calligraphy. Ming has explained that he did not truly become an artist until the ripe age of 30, although he dreamt about it as a child.
Born in Guangdong, his family moved to Hong Kong in 1956. He completed primary school and began to work. This lack of formal schooling freed Ming from the constraints of convention. He writes his own poetry and chooses from those poems what to brush, depending on his frame of mind. But it is more than that; he has created over a hundred different script styles, perfecting in his creative eye exactly how he wants the effect. For Ming, the act of creating Shufa is akin to breathing, something that he must do to live.
The poem “Post Marijuana” is brushed in several versions in the show. The first line reads:
The euphoria that follows marijuana
The twisting and turning
Stretching into empty space
Craziness and chaos intermingling
Mixing good and evil …
The twisting and turning and stretching into empty space are all attributes of the brushwork in the several versions; however, each is completely different in overall brush “style” – wet versus dry, thick versus thin, dark versus light ink. Ming succinctly translates the abstract “emotion” of the poem using different brushwork vocabularies. His genius lies in his ability to give complex emotional import to simple lines and ink using a series of different strokes through time and space. While the characters’ meaning is still an essential component to his work, Ming has made the leap from literal meaning to open up the brushwork to even more creative freedom. This is the essence of Shufa.
M. Sutherland Fine Arts presents the inaugural solo show of Fung Ming Chip in New York City, Nov 20, 2013–January 11, 2014. Ming has participated in numerous solo and group shows around the world. His works are part of major museum and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Ming’s scholarship on aesthetics and the art of calligraphy rivals any PhD. He has written extensively on the subject and also has participated in various art symposia throughout the world.